The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has left An Garda Síochána almost €360,000 out of pocket after failing to pay any money last year for policing operations around major international soccer matches in Dublin.
A Garda spokesman said on Friday that “total fees outstanding to An Garda Síochána from the FAI for policing events is €357,244.95” and that the force was “continuing to pursue the recovery” of the sum.
The FAI is experiencing serious financial problems at present with revised accounts showing it had liabilities of €55 million at the end of 2018. This sum had risen to at least €62 million last year when funding and loans owed to European football body Uefa were taken into account.
The FAI’s outstanding debt to the Garda emerged in a written Dáil reply to Dublin Bay North TD Tommy Broughan from Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan. The Minister confirmed that in the year to December 12th last the FAI made “zero” payments to the force for non-public service duties.
The Garda spokesman confirmed that no payment had been received from the FAI since December 12th. “This outstanding debt has had no impact on the Garda budget,” he added.
Asked why the FAI failed to make any payment last year or if it intended to pay the money owed to the Garda, a spokesman for the association said: “We have no comment.”
The bulk of monies owed to the Garda concern policing international matches at the Aviva stadium, where the senior Republic of Ireland men’s team played four Euro 2020 qualifiers last year as well as two friendly matches.
Mr Flanagan said that in the year to December 12th the GAA had made payments totalling €947,939 to the Garda for non-public service duties while the Irish Rugby Football Union made payments totalling €247,627.
Mr Flanagan said the cost to the event holder was determined by the number of gardaí deployed and the hours they were deployed for.
“It is not always possible to define the demarcation line between public and non-public duty and it is not always feasible for An Garda Síochána to recover the total policing cost of any particular event as the over-riding concern of An Garda Síochána is public safety,” he said.
“The reasons for the non-payment of money owed to An Garda Síochána is a matter for the body that has not paid the money to comment on.”